My Stance on Juicing

September 3rd, 2013 at 6:06 am
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If I had a dollar for every time I’ve been asked my thoughts on juicing (or juicing vs. blending), I would be rich! With juice cleanses popping up on every corner of the web and celebrities endorsing this juicery or that one, it’s no wonder that juicing has taken over the health scene by storm.

So I thought I’d give you my juicy thoughts on The Great Juice Discussion. The simple version? I love juicing, with a few buts.

Now for some details…

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Why I Love Juicing

The alkalinizing power of fresh organic vegetable juice goes straight to our cells and reduces acidic burden, leading to cleaner organs and tissues, reduced cravings, and a stronger immune system. Daily stress, a diet high in refined carbohydrates and low quality oils, excessive exercise, and processed foods cause our bodies to be acidic. Juicing helps to bring our pH to a more alkaline state, therefore combating growth of cancer cells (which thrive in an acidic environment).

Juicing concentrates the potent phytonutrients in plant foods into a simple drink that is highly effective at detoxifying the liver, especially when you include ingredients like dark leafy greens, lemons, and ginger.

Juicing dark leafy greens gives you a huge boost of chlorophyll in one glass! Chlorophyll is incredibly oxygenating, meaning that it delivers oxygen swiftly and effectively to our cells. Oxygenated cells are strong, healthy cells! Chlorophyll is also a wonderful blood cleansing phytonutrient.

Vitamin C—critical to beautiful skin, hair, and other tissues—is most prevalent in fresh produce. It’s also a potent liver cleanser and plays a role in collagen formation.

What NOT to Do

There’s no doubt about it—I love juicing! That said, there are definitely some things I do NOT do:

  • Don’t use juice as a meal replacement. Fresh juice is meant to be a booster, not a replacer. As healthy and nutrient-packed as it is, we still need food including protein, carbs, and fat! I view juice almost like a supplement. It’s a fabulous addition to an already healthy diet.
  • Don’t juice mostly fruits. Fruit juice, albeit natural, is quite high in sugar. Fresh juice made mostly from fruit will spike your blood sugar up to the ceiling, which is the last thing we want. Vegetables don’t raise blood sugar levels nearly as much as fruit (if at all), so make them the base of your juices. (See my favorite blends below.)
  • Don’t use juicing as a replacement for eating vegetables. Eating your vegetables is still of PRIME importance! Juicing is a great “bonus” but it’s not the same as eating the entire plant, which includes the fiber and other minerals, vitamins, and plant compounds that are so nourishing for us. Don’t use juicing as an excuse to skip out on eating your veg.
  • Don’t use the same ingredients all the time. It’s important to vary your juices now and then to tap into a wide range of nutrients. For example, if you usually use kale in your green juice, change it up now and then with spinach or collards instead.

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To Cleanse or Not to Cleanse

I know people who do 5-7 day juice cleanses regularly, usually because they feel they  have “fallen off the wagon” when it comes to healthy eating and need to get back on track. Personally, I’ve never juiced exclusively for longer than a day. I think it’s great to give your body a break every now and then with a brief fast or modified fast through juicing, but I don’t believe it’s necessary to cleanse every time you’ve had a few “bad” weeks of eating. Your body is designed to detoxify on a daily basis if you supply it with the right nutrients. Eat a healthy and balanced diet rich in fresh produce, avoid refined foods and sugar, focus on real foods straight from nature—and you won’t have a whole lot of junk to cleanse out to begin with!

I personally think that most organic juice cleanse programs on the market are way too high in sugar to be very effective. Sweet drink after sweet drink for a week will likely do nothing to combat sugar cravings—it may even increase them once you ease back into solid food again. Just my two cents.

I would rather incorporate fresh juice into my diet along with health-supportive meals and snacks than do a nothing-but-juice cleanse for days at a time. For the purposes of general health and well-being, it just makes more sense to me.

Juicing is wonderful, but don’t starve yourself by trying to live on it! That’s no way to cleanse and will only confuse and deprive your body.

For a while I used a very cheap juicer that I picked up at Target, which worked to get me started. I now use a Breville Juice Fountain Elite. It’s wonderful! Other than the cheap one, I’ve never used a different type of juicer so I can’t say that this one is the best, but for all practical intents and purposes, I love it. It’s not too loud (the cheap one sounded like a jet taking flight…), is fairly easy to clean, and yields juice that tastes smooth and fresh. For a less expensive option, I’ve also heard good things about the Breville Juice Fountain Plus.

(I’m not affiliated with Breville, by the way. Just sharing my honest opinion!)

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My Favorite Blends

Most of the time, like I said before, I use mostly fresh organic vegetables for my juices. If I add fruit, it’s usually a small amount to balance out the flavors. Once in a while I do add more fruit for fun to change things up and treat myself.

Here are a few of my favorite combinations with the ingredients lists in order of greatest quantity to least quantity.

  • Cucumber, celery, kale, green apple, lemon, ginger
  • Cucumber, carrot, celery, ginger—with cayenne pepper whisked in afterwards!
  • Celery, romaine, kale or collards, beet, lemon
  • Carrot, kale, apple, parsley, ginger
  • And if I’m feeling really hard core: Cucumber, celery, kale, romaine, lemon, garlic

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Your Turn!

Juicing? Yay or nay? I’d love to get your thoughts! Leave a comment below.

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Comments

  1. Hallie, I have always loved the idea of juicing but I get hung up on how much food seems to be wasted. I have never owned a juicer, but I have a Vitamixer. I create smoothies with whole veggies and fruit. Is there a true difference between juicing and blending whole foods? Thanks!

    • Juicing is a lot easier on your system as you don’t have any of the fiberus pulp to digest. However, that means that you aren’t getting the fiberus pulp. I know that when my stomach was healing and my leaky gut was really bad, raw foods were really hard for me. I could handle juices but not smoothies.
      I like a combination of both in my diet.

    • Anita: I love smoothies for when I want a meal. When I want just the concentrated phytonutrients but not necessarily the fiber and “caloric load” of other foods, I love juices. Blending includes all of the fiber of the food, where is juicing extracts that out. Many with compromised digestion can handle juice even though they can’t handle many raw veggies. That said, I don’t know where I’d be without my Vitamix! I love juicing and blending equally. They’re different, but both great in my opinion.

  2. I had a juicer at one time, but have since come to see no real point in juicing if I’m eating a healthy diet. I prefer to have my veggies whole, for the reasons you mentioned for eating whole veggies in addition to juicing. Ditto for fruits. I am a big fan of smoothies, but generally prefer my foods in their solid state. If I were to follow the regimen you suggest, I would end up with too many calories using juice as a supplement. I am also not into fasting, for many reasons, not the least of which is my tendency to way overeat if I cut out food (I also see this happening if I go too long between meals). I think juicing can be a good idea for some people, especially those who eat a lot of highly processed food. I appreciate your sane, common sense approach to juicing.
    But garlic in your juice? I hope you don’t do that at breakfast! :-) (personal opinion, only)

    • Susan: Great thoughts. Finding what works for you is SO important! The garlic is pretty intense, so I only do it when I’m really feeling adventurous. :)

  3. Brianna Tittel said on September 3, 2013 at 1:29 pm

    Great post Hallie! I will have to try some of your favorite blends.

    For those out there who have little ones that are pickier eaters, juicing a 1/4 apple, 2 carrots, and a handful of spinach has worked great to get some good nutrients into my two year old! I started out without the spinach and was able to add it into the blend within days of introducing my toddler to juicing. He loved to help put the veggies in and clean it afterwards.

    • Brianna: Yes, juicing is such a good way to get little ones to start developing a taste for veggies, especially when the juices are predominately veg-based. And yay for the helping hands when it comes to cleaning the juicer! :)

  4. Ooh, garlic in a juice? That is hard core! LOL I love a green juice, but I no longer juice every day. I have some combo of green juice, like cucumber-collard-parsley-lemon-celery or something. :) I too love my Breville.

  5. Thank for the post. I found that for both health and diet (losing weight and feeling good), I found combining smoothies, juicing, and a light protein and slo-carb-meal worked best. For breakfast, I usually have a smoothie, loaded with kale and fruit like blueberries with either a lemon or cherry juice base and protein powder, chia seeds, and flaxseed oil. For lunch and dinner, interchange a meal of say organic chicken breast with beans and salsa and broccoli, cauliflower or a kale salad and a vegetable-heavy juice. It just depends on how I’m feeling and what I’m doing as far as when I have the juice.

    I didn’t like any of the protein-heavy diets because I need/crave fruit.

    I also munch on apples or carrots during the day if I feel a little hungry.

    This post was helpful in conveying to my mother some of the reasons FOR juicing.

  6. Thanks Hallie, This was super helpful. Most of my juicing & smoothies come from your kale cookbook. I make a different one every day.

  7. Great post Hallie. Pete and I are relatively new to juicing and we love it! We like to use cilantro, swiss chard, celery, cukes, lemon, and grapefruit. One of our fave combos! I find my Breville juicer just doesn’t get much out of kale so we usually stick to swiss chard in juice and kale in smoothies :)

  8. My specialized kinesiologist says that we should never drink more than 2 oz of juice at a time. She figured this out from muscle testing thousands and thousands of people over 25 years. I didn’t know this myself, but I used to juice veggies and then feel really weird right after. I was drinking too much! Its just too much for the body to handle at one time. Nature did not intend for us to drink just the juice. I usually just blend the whole veg and fruit in my magic bullet and drink them as smoothies now.

  9. Really great one Hallie, I’m more enlightened on what to add to my recipes thanks to you, I love experimenting and often add lots of fruits to make the taste of whatever I eventually make up ingest-able. But you say fruits could spike up blood sugar (too much). Can’t think of any organic replacements for now, the taste of juiced vegetables aren’t always palatable to me. Any ideas?

  10. Hi, Hallie! I also a big fun of juicing and agree with you about long juicing cleanses. Our body designed to make self reboot every night and there is no reason to add to it. I’m afraid when people say they do 11 days fast cleanses. I think it’s not healthy at all. As you, I add juices to my daily meals as addition and feel very happy.

  11. I alternate between juice & smoothies. Love them both! I’ve heard that it’s good to use the 80/20 rule. No more than 20% of the juice should be fruit. I’ve started adding a little water to the juice as well. It mellows the flavor and I’ve heard that it’s good to cut the juice with water for easier digestion.

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